Halloween. It's an American thing. It isn't something the Brits were even slightly or remotely interested in until the major supermarkets decided to 'educate' us. It is yet another excuse to squeeze money out of us and if you have children then more fool you!
In 1990, Halloween generated less than £1million nationally; it was a very distant 2nd place to Guy Fawkes Night. In 2010, Halloween is now regarded as a £2billion 'seasonal holiday'; it fills the gap between summer and Christmas; which we all know starts as soon as the barbecue stuff is put away.
What is worse is that at least in the USA Halloween is the 31st October and no other day; in this country, we seem to think that its okay to 'trick or treat' from the middle of October, with people preparing their kids to go begging for sweets on streets that for 51 weeks a year they don't think are safe enough for them to walk to school on their own or play with their friends down the local park. I might be a miserable bastard, but you're all a bunch of hypocrites.
God Squad Botherers are another group of people that will knock on your door in the hope of getting something out of you; this time your allegiance to their particular brand of religious fundamentalism. Personally, if I want something I'll go in search of it. I don't need people ringing me at home while I'm having my dinner, or bombarding me with junk mail or sending me spam emails to get me to buy something. If I want it, I'll go looking for it and it amazes me that there is a percentage of people out there that allow themselves to be seduced by cold callers. All you have to do is either politely say 'No thank you' or rather nastily tell them to 'fuck off and if you ever knock on my door again I'll set my dogs on you' - either way you won't have bought the latest Watchtower, a new block paved drive, double glazing, house rendering or Sky TV. It really doesn't hurt you to say to the persistent arseholes who think they're good at what then do to be respectful to your wishes and fuck off.
But, I'm digressing. God Botherers are in many ways worse because they're not actually getting any financial gain from what they do apart from some smug satisfaction, or at least that's the impression I get. Religious arseholes are already morally higher than us atheists because they 'know' they have God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost on their side; they're going to go to heaven and all us heathens are going to burn in hell for eternity. Actually, we're going to burn in a big oven and have the carbon residue scattered in our favourite places - not that we're going to appreciate it. Either that or we're going to be stuck in the ground and eventually become worm food once the formaldehyde has leached from our corpses.
Once, many years ago, I did a really sinful thing...
It was 1985, I was having another one of my bouts of unemployment, I was smoking a lot of pot and I'd just had one of those mornings that you want to forget about. I'd not received my giro, I had to go into Northampton to sort that out, which meant using the shitty bus service; I'd waited for nearly an hour to get my money sorted out and I had to then get all the way home on said shitty bus service. I was walking up the Wellingborough road to a bus stop that made my fare a little cheaper when a car pulled along side me. It was two acquaintances of mine called Stefan and Carl; they were brothers. Carl was so dull he made watching paint dry an Olympic sport and Stefan, despite introducing me to The Damned's Strawberries album, was one of those been there, seen it, worn the T-shirt kind of wankers, who, at two years younger than me, obviously hadn't been there, done it or even remotely fitted into said T-shirt. They offered me a lift home and I was so lazy I accepted; even if it meant having to invite them in for a cup of tea and be sociable for half an hour. which is exactly what happened, except they stayed considerably longer than half an hour and by the time they left I was slightly frazzled and all I wanted to do was sit down, roll myself a massive spliff and chill until I had to do the dinner.
They left and within 2 minutes the door bell went again. My first thoughts were they'd forgotten something, so I scanned the house for a left item and saw nothing, so I went to the door and there was a young man, roughly the same age as me, standing there with a briefcase. My initial reaction was - he's selling something. He was, just nothing... tangible.
"Hello sir; how are you today?"
"I'm not having a good day."
"Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that. May I ask what's troubling you?"
"Just life. Nothing for you to worry about. What can I do for you?"
"Ah, life. Yes. Life has a way of grinding us down sometimes. How do you normally escape it; what do you do or think about to calm yourself down?"
Thinking that telling this person that I was just about to have a big joint was probably not a clever idea, I instead said, "Oh, a cup of tea, maybe phone my mum and sound off at her." He was nodding at me and I still hadn't twigged.
"What would you do if your mother wasn't able to speak to you or you'd run out of tea?" I shook my head. "I find that talking to God sometimes helps; because God is there to help us through all the..."
"Oh, for fuck's sake. look mate, I've had a really crappy day and the last thing I need is some God botherer bothering me today of all days!" And I went to close the door. He then did possibly the most stupid thing I've ever witnessed in my 48 years. He put his foot in the doorway, thus preventing me from shutting the door. The poor sod obviously thought that because I looked hassled and a bit down in the mouth that I was easy prey. With this gesture from him, I flung the door open, so that it crashed against the hallway wall and a massive shit-eating grin appeared on my face.
"Oh you really should not have done that." But he didn't move, instead, he stood his ground. Bad move. The next thing that happened was my fist connecting with his mouth and then a spray of blood as his lips got mashed into his teeth. he wheeled back clutching his face and yelping. I then walked towards him with my fists raised; I hadn't finished.
"Get away from me; get away from me" he screamed.
"You get off of my fucking garden!" was my response.
"God will punish you for this," he said through a spray of blood.
"If you don't get off of my land, I'll fucking punish you!" I bellowed at him and he turned on his heels and started to run away from the house, with me in hot pursuit. I chased him down the street for about 50 yards, him spouting how I would get punished by the lord because all he was trying to do was help me and me screaming obscenities at him.
Then I realised I was in the middle of the road, raging like a demented psychopath and all around me I could see curtains twitching. I whirled around, looking at all the windows and screamed "And you lot can fuck off as well!" at the top of my lungs and trudged off home...
About twenty minutes later when my pulse had slowed, the adrenaline had purged itself from my system and I'd taken stock of what I'd done. I picked up the phone and called the wife.
"I think I've done something really stupid..." was my opening sentence and for the next week I really expected a visit from the Old Bill. That never happened, but for the next 4 years I lived in that house, no one from any denomination of religious nutters came so much as near my front door, which was nice.